It’s 2:24 am — almost an hour since the 10 pm press screening of Abdellatif Kechiche‘s Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo ended. I can’t write a proper review because I need to be up by 7:30 or 8 am. But I can at least report that this plotless (but not character-less) 212-minute beach blanket buttathon with a 15-minute cunnilingus interlude …this crazy-ass film wildly defies all notions of what cinematic substance or intrigue or even worthwhile flavor amounts to.
It is so effing monotonoous, so long and so plot-averse that it’s like “c’mon, Abdellatif…really?” And he’s replying in the exuberant affirmative.
Intermezzo is nervy as fuck but also brazenly, outrageously empty (but not really if you’re perversely determined to give Kechiche a break or if you’re especially susceptible to the relentless sight of women’s shaking, quivering ass cheeks).
Kechiche is pretty much defying people like me to call him out for making a three-and-a half-hour movie about intensely sexual male-gazing on a beach and in a nightclub…relentlessly provocative sex-throb dancing and eyeballing and shuddering quiver-butts.
Kechiche knows how to make the kind of film that most of us will respond to favorably. He made Blue Is The Warmest Color a few years back. He just chose to go radical this time.
Gaspar Noe‘s Climax (which screened here last year via Directors Fortnight) went in this all-orgiastic-dancing direction for a fairly long spell, but at least he introduced the idea of LSD-spiked sangria. Kechiche introduces no such shaker-upper.
There’s probably no way in hell Intermezzo gets distribution in the States. The sexuality is way too pronounced (the bathroom cunnilingus scene is pure Pornhub) and the #MeToo community would totally freak if any of the usual suspects picked it up.
Roughly three-quarters of this epic is set in a club in Sete, France, and is mainly about three youngish, good-looking Tunisian guys (played by Shaïn Boumédine, Salim Kechiouche and Roméo De Lacour) gently but persistently hitting on a loose-knit crew of casually responsive 20something girls, whom the Tunisians have met on the beach earlier that day.
Intermezzo breaks down into five sections: (a) A 40-minute chat scene on the beach between Kechiouche and Lacour and most of the girls, (b) a 105-minute drink-talk-and-dance sequence that offers character shadings among the principals but mainly just pumps and throbs and dances for endless stretches, (c) a 15-minute cunnilingus scene in the bathroom, (d) a second talk-drink-and-dance sequence that runs about 45 minutes, and (e) a brief morning-after epilogue that doesn’t pay off in any way, shape or form.
Not long after Jack Kerouac‘s “On The Road” was published, Truman Capote famously said “that’s not writing — that’s typing!” I could just as easily say that Mektoub, My Love: Intermezzo isn’t filmmaking but cinematography. A crew of young, attractive actors, a whole lotta butt-shaking and flirting and erotic playfulness and footage that just goes on and on and on.
I’ll probably add to this sometime tomorrow.